Roanne (French pronunciation: [ʁɔan]; Arpitan: Rouana; Occitan: Roana) is a commune in the Loire department, central France.

Musée Déchelette
Musée Déchelette
Coat of arms of Roanne
Location of Roanne
Roanne is located in France
Roanne is located in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Coordinates: 46°02′12″N 4°04′08″E / 46.0367°N 4.0689°E / 46.0367; 4.0689
CantonRoanne-1 and 2
IntercommunalityRoannais Agglomération
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Yves Nicolin[1] (LR)
16.12 km2 (6.22 sq mi)
 • Density2,200/km2 (5,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
42187 /42300
Elevation257–304 m (843–997 ft)
(avg. 279 m or 915 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

It is located 90 km (56 mi) northwest of Lyon on the river Loire. It has an important Museum, the Musée des Beaux-arts et d'Archéologie Joseph-Déchelette (French), with many Egyptian artifacts.



Roanne is known for gastronomy (largely because of the famous Troisgros family), textiles, agriculture and manufacturing tanks.

Roanne station has rail connections to Clermont-Ferrand, Saint-Étienne, Moulins and Lyon.


Tourism office.

The toponymy is Gaulish, Rod-Onna ("flowing water") which became Rodumna, then Rouhanne and Roanne. The town was sited at a strategic point, the head of navigation on the Loire, below its narrow gorges. As a trans-shipping point, its importance declined with the collapse of long-distance trade after the fourth century. In the twelfth century, the site passed to the comte du Forez, under whose care it began to recover. An overland route led to Lyon and the Rhône, thus Roanne developed as a transshipping point between Paris and the Mediterranean in early modern France, when waterways were at least as important as roads.

The renewed navigation on the Loire encouraged the export of local products— wines, including casks of Beaujolais that had been shipped overland, ceramics, textiles—and after 1785, coal from Saint-Étienne, which had formerly been onloaded upstream at Saint-Rambert, since river improvements at the beginning of the century. Sturdy goods were rafted downriver on sapinières that were dismantled after use. Half the population of seventeenth and eighteenth-century Roanne depended in some way on this transportation economy: merchants and factors, carriers, carpenters and coopers, master-boatmen and their journeymen and oarsmen, and waterfront laborers (Braudel p360f).

Roanne was one of the first towns served by railroad, with the opening, 15 March 1833, of the terminal on the right bank at the port of Varennes of the third line, from Andrézieux. Following came the opening of the canal from Roanne to Digoin (1838), which placed the city in the forefront of the French Industrial Revolution.

In 1917 the arsenal was established at Roanne, and from 1940 a new industry developed, producing rayon and other new fibers. In the post-industrial phase that set in during the 1970s, Roanne struggled to find new industry and attract tourism.

The 18th-century actor, playwright and revolutionary Antoine Dorfeuille (1754–1795) was murdered in Roanne.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1793 8,500—    
1800 6,992−2.75%
1806 7,270+0.65%
1821 8,370+0.94%
1831 9,260+1.02%
1836 9,910+1.37%
1841 11,330+2.71%
1846 12,959+2.72%
1851 13,397+0.67%
1856 15,139+2.47%
1861 17,398+2.82%
1866 19,354+2.15%
1872 20,037+0.58%
1876 22,797+3.28%
1881 25,425+2.21%
1886 30,402+3.64%
1891 31,380+0.64%
1896 33,912+1.56%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901 34,901+0.58%
1906 35,516+0.35%
1911 36,697+0.66%
1921 37,752+0.28%
1926 38,469+0.38%
1931 40,502+1.04%
1936 41,460+0.47%
1946 44,518+0.71%
1954 46,501+0.55%
1962 51,731+1.34%
1968 53,381+0.52%
1975 55,195+0.48%
1982 48,705−1.77%
1990 41,756−1.91%
1999 38,896−0.79%
2007 35,750−1.05%
2012 35,799+0.03%
2017 34,366−0.81%
Source: EHESS[3] and INSEE (1968-2017)[4]



The city is home to Chorale Roanne Basket, two-time champion of France's top basketball league LNB Pro A. The team plays its home games at the Halle André Vacheresse.



Roanne was the birthplace of:

Twin towns – sister cities


Roanne is twinned with:[5]


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les maires" (in French)., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 6 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Populations légales 2021" (in French). The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ Des villages de Cassini aux communes d'aujourd'hui: Commune data sheet Roanne, EHESS (in French).
  4. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  5. ^ "Villes jumelées". (in French). Roanne. Retrieved 20 November 2019.


  • Braudel, Fernand, 1982. The Wheels of Commerce, vol. II of Civilization and Capitalism p. 360.